Kawasaki is promising the new 2012 ZZR1400 (Ninja ZX-14R in the US) is the world's fastest accelerating production motorcycle.
No power figures have been released but the new bike‘s engine has had a stroke increase to 65mm, bringing capacity up nearly 7 per cent to 1441cc from the old model‘s 1352cc. A dimensionless graph has been released comparing old and new power and torque curves, and this shows what appears to be a significant power hike across the range and a big jump in torque, which Kawasaki says occurs at 3,000rpm.
The torque spread is huge too, with a claimed 69lb.ft (9.5kgm, 93Nm) available at just 2,000rpm!
The outgoing model made a claimed 197bhp (200PS, 147.3kW) and 114lb.ft (15.7kgm, 154.6Nm) torque, so it‘s likely the new model will produce around 207bhp (210PS, 154.5kW), with a peak torque of approximately 120lb.ft (16.6kgm, 163Nm).
Changes to the combustion chamber shape have increased the compression ratio by 0.3 to 12.3:1, while the intake and exhaust port shapes have been revised. The intake ports are now polished too, while the cam profiles are revised and valve lift is increased. Other changes include longer conrods, new pistons and changes to the camchain system to improve durability. The bike now comes with an adjustable back-torque limiting slipper clutch.
Just to make sure, Kawasaki has also reduced the overall gearing by fitting a rear sprocket with 42 instead of 41 teeth, but still says the bike‘s fuel efficiency has improved by 8 per cent at steady speed.
While the main appeal in the US is the extreme acceleration, for Europe Kawasaki is focussing on the bike‘s rideability. To this end it has a new monocoque frame with completely revised rigidity and more sporting suspension with lighter wheels, all designed to sharpen the handling while keeping the feel as neutral as possible.
Rigidity around the steering head and swingarm pivot plates in particular is increased, while a 0.4in (10mm) longer and more rigid swingarm is fitted.
An improved ABS system will be available (optional in some markets) and the bike also comes with a 3-way traction control system, KTRC, which covers a wider range of riding conditions than the S-KTRC fitted to the Ninja ZX-10R. It‘s also possible to select full or low engine power modes, with the low being restricted to 75 per cent of the maximum and employing a softer throttle response.
The front and sides of the bodywork have been redesigned for a slightly more angular look without straying too far from the original, and at the same time heat management has been improved to reduce the amount reaching both the rider‘s and passenger‘s legs.
At last it‘s possible to operate the multi-function dash from the left handlebar, rather than having to reach forward to a button on the display. Information available includes fuel economy, remaining range (which Kawasaki says is now more accurate) and ambient temperature, as well as the usual.
Colours available are green or black, and the bike will become available early in 2012.
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